UK: impact of English jurisdiction clause on ability to bring unfair dismissal claim

The general rule is that employment disputes should be resolved in the jurisdiction where they arise, but an unfair dismissal claim may be brought in the UK if the claim has a sufficiently strong connection with the UK.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that the existence of an exclusive English jurisdiction clause in an employment contract was a relevant factor in determining whether the UK had jurisdiction to hear a whistleblowing unfair dismissal claim (as it creates an expectation that the employer will honour the term and that expectation is a connection with UK and UK law), provided there were other connections independently connecting the claim to the UK and the employer is either based in the UK or part of a multinational group with a UK-headquartered parent.  (Hexagon Sociedad Anonima v Hepburn)

Anna Henderson
Anna Henderson
Professional Support Consultant, London
+44 20 7466 2819

UK: Jurisdiction – claims for EU-derived rights may only be brought in the UK if working within the EU

In Wittenberg v Sunset Personnel Services the EAT has reiterated its view, originally given in Hasan v Shell International (see our blog post), that EU-derived rights such as working time or discrimination protections can be enforced in the UK, despite not satisfying the usual jurisdictional test, only if the individual was working within the EU.

Continue reading

Updated HSF multi-jurisdictional guide to employee issues in business transfers

Employment law issues rarely determine the strategy for a multi-jurisdictional business acquisition, but they can certainly give rise to significant avoidable costs and delay if issues are not spotted in advance. In the Herbert Smith Freehills 2016 global survey, 57% of respondents cited employment regulations as one of the reasons a deal had failed to complete. The temptation may be to assume that employee issues will be broadly similar in each country, but in practice employment law varies significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and it is not even safe to assume that a particular continent will have a broadly similar approach.

Continue reading

Hong Kong: Which laws apply in cross-border employment?

The Macau Judicial Base Court recently held that Macau law (not Hong Kong law) governed an employment relationship between a Hong Kong citizen and his Hong Kong based employer, notwithstanding that the employment contract clearly stated that Hong Kong law governed the relationship.

This case is a useful reminder that it is often not possible to exclude the operation of the laws of the jurisdiction in which an employee works and that an employer may sometimes have exposure under the laws of more than one jurisdiction.

Continue reading

UK: Court of Appeal due to consider whether US exclusive jurisdiction clause or EU jurisdiction rules should prevail

The Court of Appeal is due to consider whether a UK-domiciled employee's right under EU rules to be sued only in the UK should be given precedence over proceedings in the US pursuant to a US exclusive jurisdiction clause, in an application for an anti-suit injunction against the US proceedings.

The issue will be of particular interest to multi-national employers who offer global incentive agreements to senior employees worldwide, often subject to standard restrictive covenants expressed to be governed by the law and jurisdiction of the non-EU parent company (or the company to whose stock the awards relate). If the employees then breach these covenants, can the employee be sued for repayment in the parent company's jurisdiction? Continue reading